Sometimes it’s easier to squeeze in a quick summer getaway. Here’s one that’s short and sweet: The Moab Adventure Center in the red-rock town of Moab, Utah, offers the Southwest Sampler.
Over four days and three nights, guests explore Arches National Park and hit the water for a float on the Colorado River. In Arches, named for its more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches, there’s a half-day guided tour and hike among the spectacular red-rock formations. Later in the day, guests hop into sturdy four-wheel-drive vehicles for a guided Hummer Safari into more of the rugged back-country. Two days’ rafting on the river will encounter relatively mild Class I and II rapids. Guests can let the guides handle rowing an oar boat or they can be part of the paddling crew on paddle boats. Inflatable kayaks are also available so guests can take turns paddling on their own.
The river trip includes one night of camping alongside the river. The trip is priced at $685, double occupancy, for ages 16 and up and $590 for ages 5-15, with a minimum age of 5. There’s limited air service into Moab, so other options are Grand Junction, Colo., about a two-hour drive, or Salt Lake City, about a three and one-half-hour drive. Info: http://tinyurl.com/y9hblt57
Check your baggage
Picking the cheapest flight used to be simple, but it’s been complicated by airlines deciding to charge for checking your bag(s) and, in some instances, charging for your carry-on. Airfarewatchdog helps you out with its new Guide to Baggage Fees. It lists expected baggage fees by carrier for flights from the U.S. and Canada.
In addition to destinations in the U.S. and Canada it also has a separate listing for travel to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean and one for the rest of the world. Southwest Airlines remains the only domestic airline covering the Lower 48 that has no baggage fees. The chart’s at http://tinyurl.com/yap6pxp8.
If stargazing appeals, you might want to head to Washington, Maine, Aug. 11-17 for the Maine Astronomy Retreat at the Medomak Retreat Center. The location is one of the darkest in the Northeast, making it ideal for astronomy. Seasoned stargazers can bring their own telescopes or there will be telescopes available for newbies.
J. Kelly Beatty, senior contributing editor for Sky & Telescope, and veteran stargazer and researcher Bruce Bergerwill lead the activities, with daytime programs and lectures followed by nighttime viewing. Among topics covered will be choosing a telescope and how to use it, how to photograph the night sky, best astronomy software and apps, and viewing meteors. The center is located on a lake, where canoes and kayaks are available. Cost is $1,350 per person, which includes the program, lodging and meals. Info: 301-854-9100, http://tinyurl.com/ya5aayp6